Is it permissible to wear women clothes in total privacy without anyone watching it. Not for sexual purpose but to release pressure?

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    related judaism.stackexchange.com/q/14479
    – Fred
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 0:22
  • why the downvote? Commented May 28, 2013 at 2:15
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    Mordechai, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks very much for bringing your question here! I hope you'll look around the site and find other material that suits you, perhaps including our 133 other questions about clothing. Please consider registering your account, which will give you access to more of the site's features.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 4:56
  • I understood that crossdressing may lead to promiscuity and prohibited sexual act. I meant crossdressing in front of nobody. For people who have hormonal diseases and have feminine character, being Frum is quite challenging. Being dressed as a woman, alone, in secret, can be just relaxing. Does Halacha take into account diseases with mental complication? Do I have a Chiuv to take the hormones that my endocrinologist prescribed to be more manly? Thank you very much for your answer.
    – user2842
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 16:26

6 Answers 6


The Chinuch says in Mitzvah #443 in reference to the prohibition of men wearing women's clothing: "ונוהג איסור זה בכל מקום ובכל זמן-This prohibition applies in all places, and at all times."

So, it seems pretty clear that it's not allowed in any sort of setting.

In general, you should know, that the mitzvot apply equally in public and private. For example, no one would suggest that pig is permitted to be eaten when in private. This can be seen from what are Rabbis stated countless times: That a decree ("גזרה") that was put into force by the Sages is also prohibited "בחדרי חדרים-In the innermost rooms," even though it may seem that the decree was only enacted to ensure that people watching wouldn't become confused. This would apply all the more so for Torah prohibitions.

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    Do you have a source for that? For example, certain prohibitions related to speech apply in public, so wouldn't apply if one is speaking privately to (e.g.) his spouse -- or rabbi for that matter. Commented May 28, 2013 at 1:45
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    That's an exception to the general rule. Otherwise, it wouldn't be necessary to state it. According to that logic, it would be permitted to eat pig in private! Commented May 28, 2013 at 1:47
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    Who says that's an exception but there isn't one for cross-dressing? I'm not arguing that position, to be clear; I'm arguing that you haven't made your case in this one-sentence answer. We're looking for answers that are supported with sources, logic, or (where relevant) personal experience. Can you edit this answer to improve it? Otherwise it is likely to be downvoted and possibly removed. Commented May 28, 2013 at 1:51
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    @MonicaCellio, it is a prohibition which is unqualified, on what basis do we demand a specific statements of cases included in the general prohibition?
    – Yirmeyahu
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 2:33
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    Yet many permit it on Purim so it's not so simple.
    – Double AA
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 2:53

I read the question with a great sense of concern for the questioner. I was reminded of statements by Rabbi Kalman Topp who reminds us that “the Torah is both a Torat emet — a Torah of truth conveyed through laws and values, as well as a Torat chesed — a Torah filled with compassion. A religious Jew is compelled to grapple with this dialectic and integrate both components,” Topp says also say” we adhere fully to our tradition of Jewish law without denying the commandments inherent in it. At the same time, we recognize that a core element of that tradition is to appreciate — with compassion and respect — the humanity of every single individual and act accordingly.” I offer a summary of some of the thinking around cross-dressing. I wonder if the more lenient view would not be supportive of private-cross dressing as it does not seem to amount to the “violations” that the halacha seems to seek to avoid.

The biblical prohibition against cross-dressing occurs in in Deuteronomy 22:5 A man's attire shall not be on a woman, nor may a man wear a woman's garment because whoever does these [things] is an abomination to the Lord, your God.

The question on cross-dressing arise in the Talmud Bavli Nazir 59a as a point of disagreement between Rabbi Eliezer ben Ya’akov and the Tanna Kamma. Rabbi Eliezer ben Yaakov forbids any situation in which a man dresses like a woman or a woman dresses like a man, whilst the Tanna Kamma objects that the Torah only forbids this in a situation of to’eva (a repugnant act), which would only occur if the purpose was to allow a man to sit among women or a woman to sit among men. Rashi (c. 1040-1105 C.E.) commenting on Deuteronomy 22:5 and drawing on the Talmud Nazir, 59a says that the prohibition is limited to concealing identity for the purpose of adultery. With respect to a man wearing women’s clothing Rashi says: “Simlat Isha, a man shall not wear a women’s garment: So, he can go and be among the women.” If a man dresses as a woman, he can sneak among women for sin. A married woman walking to a secluded place with a man will fall under suspicion. If she walks with what looks like another woman, no one will ask questions. Likewise, for a woman wearing man’s clothing “Kli gever, a man’s item should not be on a woman: That she should not appear as a man so she can go out among men, for this is only for the purpose of adultery.” Rashi explains the moral force of this: “Toeva, abhorrence: The Torah forbids only garments that may lead to toeva, abhorrence.” Rashi seems to limit the prohibition to this case. Thus, men and women cross-dressing in other circumstances might not be prohibited, at least if it can be assured that the “abhorrence” will not result. Essentially according to Rashi, cross-dressing is forbidden because it facilitates the breaking of miztvot. However, Rambam explains it differently. The Rambam, Hilchot Avodah Zara 12:10 follows Rabbi Eliezer ben Yaakov’s opinion that wearing women’s clothing of any kind is completely prohibited. In Sefer Ha-Mitzvot, prohibition 40 he states that the prohibition has two reasons. First, cross-dressing was an ancient idolatrous practice; it was part of certain rituals. In order to distance us from idolatry, the Torah prohibits a number of pagan ritualistic practices. Additionally, crossdressing is a form of impropriety, and leads to, sexual impropriety. Unlike Rashi he says that people sometimes cross-dress in order to arouse their desires, which then leads to improprieties. According to Rambam, cross-dressing leads to arousal which itself leads to the breaking of mitzvot.

I know there are further opinions but perhaps these are helpful.


this forum is probably not the place to get into detailed halakhik dicussions, and I am certainly not qualified to engage in such discussion, but the tur in yoreh deah on the siman about crossdressing cites the gemara in nazir and both tanaic opinions are brought down by the tur and bet yosef. I do not have access to the sefarim right now, but it is easy to locate. one of the tanaim in masekhet nazir clearly says that crossdressing per se is not what the pasuk intended to prohibit because crossdressing itself is not a toavah, and rashi on chumash in ki tezeh brings this lenient opinion to explain the posuk and accordingly the prohibition is only if it is in a situation that can lead to a toevah which is a prohibited sexual intercourse. while the other tanna disagrees and prohibits a broader range of cross gender acts even if apparently there is no intent to commit any prohibited sexual act, in dire circumstances one can rely on a single tanna especially since it is 2 individual tannaim as opposed to a yachid and rabim. I discussed this with a major posek that agreed but only in dire circumstances. I am not, however, saying that anyone should rely on this, rather, look for an intelligent posek who knows about the realities of what crossdressers are really about. the classic poskim on this siman do not discuss the situation of shaat hadkhak - or psychological anxiety which can be significant for a crossdresser.

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    Hi, this forum is definitely the place to get into detailed halachik discussions, and if you can cite and are aware of useful sources, please do so. Substantial posts with concrete support from authoritative texts are definitely more useful than tentative, unsure posts. On another note, there are numerous resources that you can use to find texts online should you wish to do so. The Hebrew wikisource and hebrewbooks are two such resources.
    – Yehuda
    Commented May 12, 2014 at 3:27

It is an absolute prohibition as stated in Deuteronomy 22:5. It is explicitly stated. It does not matter whether it is in public or private. The prohibition is not a fence to protect from possible sin, it is in itself a deoraita prohibition.

  • Well rashi does explain the reasoning which doesn't seem to apply in private. Commented Jul 27, 2015 at 21:39
  • "It is an absolute prohibition as stated in Deuteronomy 22:5. It is explicitly stated." I don't know what that has to do with anything. "It does not matter whether it is in public or private." That answers the question, but it is just your assertion AFAICT. "The prohibition is not a fence to protect from possible sin, it is in itself a deoraita prohibition." Again, not sure what that has to do with anything.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 27, 2015 at 22:51

This entire discussion would only apply if there was a specific clothing that was exclusively for genetic born females. (As was the case in the time of chazal)

Since nowadays transgender is accepted all feminine(and masculine) clothing are intended for both genetic born sex to choose what style they prefer, essentially rending all clothing halachikly unisex.

"דביתהו דרבי יהודה נפקת נקטת עמרא עבדה גלימא דהוטבי כד נפקת לשוקא מיכסיא ביה וכד נפיק רבי יהודה לצלויי הוה מיכסי ומצלי וכד מיכסי ביה" (נדרים מט.ב)

"אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל ואפילו להבחין בין בגדו לבגדי אשתו אמר רבא לא אמרן אלא דבני מחוזא" [רש"י:מפנקי ולא עבדי מלאכה ובגדיהם רחבים כשל אשה וצריכים עיון] (שבת יב.א)

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    – Community Bot
    Commented Mar 20, 2022 at 6:35
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    Can you source your claim that "nowadays transgender is accepted" ? I thought halakha considered one cannot change once's halakhic sex?
    – mbloch
    Commented Mar 20, 2022 at 16:32
  • @mbloch No no you misunderstood. that's the whole point of this answer. Since the halachic sex doesn't change when people do change their social gender presentation, we find people of both halachic sexes wear both kinds of gendered clothes, meaning no kind of clothing is unique to one halachic sex.
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 20, 2022 at 17:07
  • @DoubleAA, that may have been the answerer's point, but that misses the point. Yes, nowadays these transgender people wear the clothing of what is not their halachic sex; but that doesn't make the said clothing now unisex. It just means that some people are wearing clothing that is recognizably appropriate only for the (halachically) other sex.
    – Mordechai
    Commented Mar 20, 2022 at 22:14
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    @Mordechai do you have a source that the reason matters? If for whatever reason it's at least sometimes socially acceptable for halachic men to wear something, how is that not a halachic beged ish? (And vice versa)
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 20, 2022 at 22:35

there is a heter in private - one tanna explicitely says cd per say is not the issur because it can't be considered toeva, only cd that is toeve, i e in the context of a prohibited sexula encounter is assur. this opinion may be relied on beshaas hadechak, but ask a smart rov.

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    Can you cite where in Tannaitic literature such an opinion may be found? Doing so will greatly improve the value of your answer, because after all we can't rely just on your word, not even knowing who you are.
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 6, 2013 at 4:31
  • Deuteronomy 22:5 clearly states a deoraita prohibition!
    – alice fine
    Commented Jul 27, 2015 at 19:03

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